25 for 25: Australian cricket’s top young male talent

With 15 Test caps and nine Sheffield Shield champions already, the future of Australian cricket is in good hands if this list of the country’s best young male talent is anything to go by.

Ahead of the new domestic season, cricket.com.au is profiling the top 25 players aged 25 or under to watch this summer.

Every state is represented at least once, with Victoria (7), Perth Scorchers (4) and Sydney Thunder (4) featuring most prominently, while the nation’s batting stocks appear plentiful with 14 making the cut.

The criteria to be included is simple: be aged 25 or under by the cut-off date of March 30, 2023, with top-flight achievements already logged ranked higher than potential.

Narrowly missing the cut for this year’s list include Wes Agar, Henry Hunt, Matthew Kuhnemann and Jhye Richardson, who all turn 26 during the season.

Presented below, in alphabetical order, is the top 25 male players aged 25 or under for the 2022-23 summer:

Xavier Bartlett

Fast bowler | Queensland/Heat | 23

Bartlett perhaps first came to wider attention as the BBL’s most subbed-out player under the X-factor rule two summers ago, utilising his potent outswinger with the new white ball. His ability to bring the ball back in has also been developing and he’s had a promising start to his first-class career with Queensland, netting 35 wickets in 10 games, including a key spell to collect three wickets in the 20-21 Sheffield Shield final. Teammates love his team-first attitude.

Bartlett jags Hobart’s big four to star for the Heat

Jack Clayton

Batter | Queensland | 23

Left-handed batter Jack Clayton made his Sheffield Shield debut with Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne away on Test duty, and promptly hit a century against a Test-calibre Victoria attack. Floored by a James Pattinson bouncer, he survived the spell and hit 109, then followed it up to top score for the Bulls again in his second game with 85 against South Australia. Upgraded to a full contract this season, and with the aforementioned duo set to be involved in Test cricket again this summer, more opportunities will abound. Also played two games with the Heat last summer when the club was hit hard by Covid.

Clayton defies Victoria with maiden ton on debut

Ollie Davies

Batter | NSW/Thunder | 21

One of Australia’s most exciting young short-form batting talents, Davies – who turns 22 in mid-October – will be looking for a big summer after suffering a bout of ‘second season syndrome’ in 2021-22. He had burst onto the scene the previous season with a 22-ball 36 on debut for the Thunder against Perth, then hit five consecutive sixes against Melbourne Renegades. His Marsh Cup debut with NSW saw him hit a 35-ball fifty in partnership with Steve Smith. The Thunder quickly locked him up on a three-year deal in the BBL.

Fearless Davies dazzles for Thunder on BBL debut

Jack Edwards

Batter | NSW/Sixers | 22

It’s been four years since Jack Edwards burst onto the scene, carving out a slice of history as Australia’s youngest ever domestic one-day centurion with 116 in October 2018. That breakout tournament had seen him score a Shield debut shortly after, and he hit 101 in just his third first-class match. Edwards had to wait until 2021 for a second one-day cup century, a decisive ton in the Marsh Cup final against WA, but a second Shield ton has so far eluded him in a further 19 first-class games. His primary role is as a batter, but he’s handy with the ball too, claiming 18 Shield wickets with his seamers.

Somersaulting Edwards pulls off incredible caught & bowled

Jake Fraser-McGurk

Batter | Victoria/Renegades | 20

An electric fielder – who could forget that leaping outfield catch to kick-start the BBL last December – ‘JFM’ also has plenty of buzz about his batting. He admits fielding in front of big BBL crowds is ‘nerve-wracking’ but he bats with authority and confidence – evidenced by fifties on his Shield and Marsh Cup debuts as a 17-year-old in late 2019. But that 51 in his maiden first-class innings and 54 in his first Marsh Cup innings five days later remain his highest scores in both formats. Has played 19 games with the Renegades in the past two summers and is on a steep learning curve.

Horns up! Fraser-McGurk’s STUNNING BBL grab

Matthew Gilkes

Wicketkeeper-batter | NSW/Thunder | 23

A tidy gloveman in the BBL, Gilkes has forced his way into the NSW Blues side for his batting alone, with the powerful left-hander slotting in at the top of the order with Baxter Holt preferred as the NSW ‘keeper following the retirement of Peter Nevill. Gilkes has scored five fifties in 12 Shield matches since making his debut in late 2019 with a top of 83 and an average of 30.28, and signalled a big summer ahead with a century against Victoria in a second XI fixture last week from No.3.

Gilkes thrills Showgrounds crowd, narrowly misses ton

Cameron Green

Allrounder | Australia/WA/Scorchers | 23

Far and away the most accomplished player on this list, Cameron Green looks a lock in Australian sides for many, many years to come. He burst onto the scene as a fast bowler with 5-24 on Shield debut and, when back stress fractures in 2019 prevented him bowling, his batting went to another level with three centuries in the summer before forcing his way into the national side the following year. Mature and with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for runs, he is unlocking a power game that could see him dominate all three formats, and a maiden Test ton can only elude him for so long.

Green Machine: All of Cameron Green’s Ashes wickets

Aaron Hardie

Allrounder | WA/Scorchers | 23

If it wasn’t for the name above on this list, there might be a lot more buzz about this young allrounder coming out of Western Australia. Born in the UK, he moved to Perth as a two-year-old and the now 23-year-old is coming off a breakout season, scoring an unbeaten 174 in the Shield final as WA broke their title drought, a week after claiming a career-best 4-24 by ripping apart Victoria’s top-order. He began last season as WA’s sixth allrounder in line and ended it with a call-up to the Australia A side that toured Sri Lanka, scoring three fifties and taking five wickets in an impressive showing. Averages 52.85 with the bat and 26.35 with the ball in first-class cricket, acquitted himself well playing for Surrey over the winter, and signalled he’s hungry for more this summer with 121 in WA’s three-day intra-squad game earlier this week.

Hardie delivers career-best 174* in Shield final

Mackenzie Harvey

Batter | Victoria/Renegades | 22

Widely regarded as one of the best fielders in the country, Harvey has shown plenty of promise in the white-ball formats but is yet to fully grasp his opportunity at the top level. The aggressive left-hander has two Marsh Cup half centuries and two for the Renegades in the BBL, but he is yet to capitalise on his potential having fallen between 20 and 50 in 10 of his 32 Big Bash innings. Harvey has been a regular at the top of the ‘Gades batting line-up for the past two seasons and was the club’s second leading run-scorer behind national skipper Aaron Finch in BBL|11 with 231 at 25.66.

Freak! Harvey flies to nab ‘catch of the season’

Peter Hatzoglou

Leg-spinner | Scorchers | 23

Hatzoglou has enjoyed a rapid rise in the shortest format, plucked from Premier Cricket to become a sensation with the Melbourne Renegades for BBL|10 with 17 wickets, he then forced his way into South Australia’s Marsh Cup squad before securing a big move to the Perth Scorchers. His 15 wickets in as many games stacked up well against the vastly more experienced Ashton Agar in Perth’s title run last summer. Again plucked from relative obscurity to the big stage this winter after heading to the UK at the urging of the late Shane Warne, he snared a replacement gig with the Oval Invincibles in the Hundred, taking a wicket with his second delivery.

Caleb Jewell

Batter | Tasmania/Hurricanes | 25

Born and raised in Hobart, opening batter Jewell made his first-class debut for his state in 2016 aged just 18. Jewell was part of Australia’s under-19 squad for the ‘Youth Ashes’ in 2015 and enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021-22 with a century and three fifties in the Sheffield Shield on his way to 508 runs at 32.28 for the season. A compact yet powerful left-hander, he whacked Test skipper Pat Cummins for three consecutive boundaries in a stylish 70 in a Marsh Cup match in 2021 and scored his maiden List A century against an Australian-quality Redbacks attack featuring Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa in 2019. He also forced his way back into the Hurricanes line-up in BBL|11, scoring 216 runs from 11 matches with a top score of 51.

Jewell rides luck to hit second Shield ton

Thomas Kelly

Batter | SA/Strikers | 21

A dashing middle-order batter, Kelly already holds a unique piece of South Australian cricketing history when he and brother Corey became the first twins to play together for the Redbacks in November last year. Thomas has since leapfrogged his identical twin in the pecking order, going on to play 15 matches for Adelaide Strikers in BBL|11 and make his first-class debut against NSW in March. He showed glimpses of his talent with several huge sixes during a breakout season, including one off the experienced AJ Tye in his 26 from 15 balls on debut.

Cameron McClure

Fast bowler | Victoria | 20

Standing at over 2m tall, Cameron McClure cuts an imposing figure running into bowl. Breaking into Victoria’s Test-calibre attack is an impressive feat and at just 20 years old the right-armer did exactly that, making his first-class and List A debuts in March this year, picking up 3-38 against eventual Marsh Cup champions WA in just his second match. Hailing from Essendon Cricket Club, McClure made his name in the 2019 under-19 national championships before earning a late call-up to Australia’s U19 World Cup in South Africa in 2020 and securing a Victorian contract at the age of just 18.

Lance Morris

Fast bowler | WA/Scorchers | 24

You have to bring something special to the table to get a game for Western Australia as a fast bowler and Lance Morris brings exactly that – pace. Known as ‘The Wild Thing’, the same moniker that followed Shaun Tait around in his career, Morris is capable of bowling up to 150kph. Morris made his Sheffield Shield debut in 2020-21 and took a five-wicket haul in just his second match. Since his first first-class outing, Morris has played 13 of WA’s 16 matches and with a strike rate of 48, he is building an impressive red-ball record. After first appearing in the BBL as a Melbourne Star, the right-arm quick has since made the move to the Perth Scorchers.

Lightning Lance shows some spark with five wicket haul

Todd Murphy

Off-spinner | Victoria/Sixers | 21

The promising off-spinner bolted into national calculations during the winter when he was selected for the Australia A tour of Sri Lanka in June after just two first-class matches for Victoria. Kept out of his state side by former Test spinner Jon Holland, Murphy relished his opportunity when the pair were selected together for Victoria’s penultimate home-and-away match of the 2021-22 Shield season. The right-arm tweaker grabbed 4-98 in the first innings and 3-48 in the second, with his 24no in a match-winning ninth-wicket partnership hauling Victoria over the line against Tasmania to secure their place in the final. Murphy has also prospered under the tutelage of Greg Shipperd, Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon at the Sixers, and spent an hour honing his skills with the Test offie in the nets at Adelaide Oval during the Shield hub early the 2020-21 season.

Murphy puts Sri Lanka A in a spin with four wickets

Lawrence Neil-Smith

Bowling allrounder | Tasmania | 23

Lawrence Neil-Smith was set for a breakout season in 2021-22 with two half centuries and 13 wickets in Tasmania’s opening five Sheffield Shield matches before his summer was derailed by a foot injury. The right-hander seized his opportunity as nightwatchman in the opening two matches, scoring 71no against Queensland and 60 against Western Australia, which was a match when he also claimed his maiden five-wicket haul with his right-arm seamers before he was subbed out with concussion on day three. New all-format Tasmania captain Jordan Silk and head coach Jeff Vaughan said Neil-Smith was fitter and stronger and after a good off-season and they were excited by the prospect of the 23-year-old stepping up to lead the Tigers attack over the next few years.

Neil-Smith rocks WA for maiden five-wicket haul

Mitch Perry

Fast bowler | Victoria | 22

A genuine swing bowler, Mitch Perry burst onto the scene with sensational spell to remove the then-world No.2 Test batter Steve Smith in just his third first-class match. In an attack featuring 28 Test caps between James Pattinson, Scott Boland and Jon Holland, the right-armer has become one of the mainstays for Victoria. He’s played all of the state’s 16 Sheffield Shield matches since his debut against South Australia at the start of the 2020-21 summer for 39 wickets at 32.02, mostly taking the new ball alongside either Boland or Pattinson. His batting has also been a feature of late, guiding Victoria into last season’s Sheffield Shield decider with a match-winning 32no against Tasmania, which he backed up by second top scoring (74) in the final against WA. With the retirement of Pattinson, Victoria will be hoping Perry can step up to become a leader of the attack this season.

Third-gamer Perry’s elite build-up to Smith wicket

Josh Philippe

Wicketkeeper-batter | Australia/WA/Sixers | 25

Long touted as one of Australia’s brightest short-form batting prospects, Josh Philippe hasn’t quite grabbed his chances in the 13 internationals he’s played in the past 20 months and has seen himself overtaken as Australia’s T20 gloveman in waiting by WA teammate Josh Inglis (age 27). But that has opened the door for Philippe to keep wicket more for WA – including in last season’s Shield final. He was the state’s top run-scorer in the Marsh Cup last summer, made his second first-class hundred batting at No.5 against Queensland last November and played a match-winning hand for Australia A in Sri Lanka in June. A force in the BBL, he was player of the final in the Sixers’ BBL|09 win, and player of the tournament for BBL|10, having scored just short of 1500 runs in the past three seasons.

Josh flips the script on Stars with match-winning 99

Will Pucovski

Batter | Australia/Victoria | 24

A generational batting talent, Pucovski, who turns 25 in February, signalled he’s lost none of his hunger for batting big with an unbeaten 193 across nine hours in a Second XI fixture last week. It marked a successful recovery from a shoulder injury that required surgery which had blighted his otherwise successful Test debut in January 2021. But Pucovski’s biggest challenge will be to overcome his worrisome concussion history, and he’s shown remarkable resilience and personal growth to deal with the issues. Recently travelled to India for an MRF Pace Academy exchange, signalling he remains firmly in the Aussie selectors’ thoughts.

In case you don’t know me: Will Pucovski | Direct Hit

Jason Sangha

Batter | NSW/Thunder | 23

Captaincy of both the NSW Blues and Sydney Thunder at just 22 underlines the standing Sangha is held in by NSW cricket. Initially signed by the Thunder off the back of their community rookie program as a 16-year-old in 2016, he stepped up for the Blues last March amid a host of senior absences, relishing the extra responsibility to smack a century in his first Shield knock with the C next to his name. BBL|11 was a breakout season after two years on the bench for the Thunder, finishing as the club’s top run-scorer and the fifth-highest in the league with 445 at 49.44.

Sangha delivers in first knock as NSW skipper

Tanveer Sangha

Leg-spin bowler | NSW/Thunder | 20

Sidelined for the early part of this summer with injury, the leg-spinner will have to bide his time to continue to his upward trajectory. Included on Australia’s white-ball tour of New Zealand and a reserve for the tours of West Indies and Bangladesh in 2021 and although he remains uncapped, it was a steep learning curve and exposure to the next level. That call-up came after he was the BBL’s leading spinner in 2020-21 with 21 wickets in 15 games for the Thunder, and backed it up with 16 at 17.37 last season. Had a dream Marsh Cup debut last November with 4-21 in 7.2 overs, and spun Australia A to victory in Sri Lanka with a final-day 4-56 in June, his best first-class haul.

Sangha snares four to lead Australia A to victory

Bryce Street

Batter | Queensland | 24

A gritty left-handed opening batter who will turn 25 in late January, Street forced his way into the Queensland Sheffield Shield side in 2019 after a record 345 in the second XI, and has since cemented a spot at the top of the Bulls order with five centuries and 1500 runs in 26 Shield games, and forced ex-Test opener Matt Renshaw into a middle-order role. Picked for Australia A to face the touring England Lions ahead of last summer’s Ashes, he hit an unbeaten 119 in the second innings. Made off-season headlines over the winter with a controversial run-out in the UK when throwing down stumps at non-striker’s end in an East Anglia Premier League club match.

Street notches unbeaten ton against Lions

Will Sutherland

Bowling allrounder | Victoria | 22

Sutherland’s father James played 13 matches for Victoria before becoming Cricket Australia CEO and it seemed only a matter of time before Will followed in his footsteps. The highly-talented junior Australia rules footballer choose cricket and made his List A debut as a 17-year-old for the Cricket Australia XI against the touring Pakistanis, where he finished with 0-30 from three overs. A Victoria and a Renegades debut soon followed, and the allrounder’s performances in 2020 earned him the prestigious Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year award. Sutherland capped off another strong summer in 2021-22 with a five-wicket haul in the Shield final against Western Australia.

Sutherland tears through WA to lead Vics’ fightback

Tim Ward

Batter | Tasmania | 24

Ward enjoyed a breakout season in 2021-22 at the top of the order for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield, scoring 552 runs, the fifth-most in the competition. The left-hander, who turns 25 in February, churned out tons of runs for Parramatta in Sydney Premier Cricket before being offered a rookie contract with Tasmania ahead of the 2020-21 season. He reached three figures for the first time in only his second Shield match, a brilliant 144 (that he followed up with 81 in the second innings) which earnt him the Player of the Match against Queensland at Karen Rolton Oval.

Wonderful Ward begins season with maiden Shield ton

Teague Wyllie

Batter | Western Australia | 18

The youngest player on this list, the ‘Coyote’ rose to prominence on the back of a phenomenal run at the U19 World Cup in February where he dominated as a 17-year-old, scoring 278 runs in six innings and earning selection to the team of the tournament. Second XI and WA Premier weight of runs saw him force his way into the WA side late in the season, becoming the second youngest man to ever play a Shield final at 17 years and 342 days (behind Pat Cummins). A top-order bat, he played a middle-order role in WA’s drought-busting title win in just his second game.

Wyllie ton, Cahill fireworks lead Aussies past Scotland

On the fringes of the list:

Max Bryant (Qld), Cooper Connolly (WA), Brody Couch (Vic), Sam Elliott (Vic), Liam Guthrie (Qld), Nathan McSweeney (SA), Arjun Nair (NSW), Blake Nikitaras (NSW), Wil Parker (Vic), Nivethan Radhakrishnan (Tas), Corey Rocchiccioli (WA), Liam Scott (SA).

Tickets for Weber WBBL and KFC BBL games are on sale now. Get yours at cricket.com.au/big-bash

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